Myanmar Voyages

Myanmar Voyages is a partnership with leading tourism entrepreneurs to create a tourism platform centred around a well-established profitable travel agency business.

Overview

  1. The Myanmar tourism sector is experiencing rapid growth, with a compound average growth rate of 24% between 2010 to 2016. Tourist arrivals and tourist expenditure in 2016 reached 2.9 million and US$2.2 billion respectively.
  2. Tourism expenditure is forecast to grow to US$4.5 billion by 2027. As such, tourism is of significant importance to Myanmar as a key export sector bringing in foreign currency as well as providing employment opportunities across the country.
  3. U Thet Lwin Toh and Daw Lwin Lwin Kyaw are MIL’s partners in this venture. They are well-regarded and seasoned entrepreneurs in tourism, having founded their travel agency business since 1996.
  4. The tourism assets under the Myanmar Voyages platform include a 10 year management contract for the Serenity Inle Resort on Inle Lake, and an investment in Culture Attractions Limited which operates static helium balloons, the first of which is the Mingalabar Balloon in Kandawgyi Park, Yangon.

Invested: US$800,000
Date of investment: 24 October 2017

Business Attraction / Investment Thesis

Tourism is a long-term growth sector of significant importance to Myanmar, bringing in foreign currency as well as providing employment opportunities across the country. Compared to countries such as Thailand and Cambodia, tourist arrivals to Myanmar are currently significantly below their potential, especially given the range of tourist destinations and attractions which exist. Myanmar Voyages offers a platform through which MIL will work with proven local partners with a solid track record to become one of the leading tourism platforms in the country.

Company Background and Transaction

Myanmar Voyages Group Co Ltd (“Myanmar Voyages”) is a joint venture company established in October 2017. It will acquire 60% of the existing travel agency business of Myanmar Voyage International Tourism Company Limited (“MVI”).

MVI was founded in 1996 by U Thet Lwin Toh and Daw Lwin Lwin Kyaw (the “Myanmar Partners”). MVI focuses on inbound tourism, serving tourists from markets such as Spain, Scandinavia and Japan, as well as providing land excursion tour packages for cruise liners calling at ports in Myanmar.

MIL has invested approximately US$800,000. MIL’s shareholding in Myanmar Voyages is expected to be diluted down subsequently through earn outs to the Myanmar Partners based on MVI’s future profitability.

Other tourism assets that Myanmar Voyages intends to acquire are:

  • 100% of a to-be-established company to operate and own hotels. Initially, this will acquire the management contract for the Serenity Inle Resort on the shores of the famous Inle Lake; and
  • 30% of Cultural Attractions Limited which owns and operates the “Mingalabar Balloon” in Kandawgyi Park in Yangon. The Mingalabar Balloon is a static helium-filled balloon that provides a unique panoramic view across Yangon and especially of the Shwedagon pagoda. CAL plans to operate similar balloons in other major tourist destinations in Myanmar.

MIL value added

As a proactive Myanmar-based investor, MIL has been engaged with the company both operationally and strategically including on the ground support e.g. business planning, staff recruitment and setting up the financial systems and controls.